Another look at Betsy McCall’s dresses…

So many of you commented about either having a Betsy McCall doll when you were younger, or you enjoyed so much getting the pages of the Betsy McCall paper dolls in the McCall’s magazines and cutting them out, that I decided to do a post on her. I was one who had a Betsy McCall doll… Cindy and I had one, but I don’t remember much about her… maybe my sister does. I think we had the 8″ doll because I remember she was pretty small. I’ve looked on Ebay and some of the vintage dolls do bring back slight memories to me. Does anyone still have their childhood Betsy doll? We LOVE pictures around her…. *hint* *hint*

I decided to take some close up pictures of the dresses on the 3 pages that I received in my “Birthday Tote!” If you missed that post, you’ll have to take a peek… (HERE)

Here are the pages I’m referring to…


…and here are some close up pictures of the dresses…




I wonder why this next one was called a “coat dress?” Because it had a button up front? Anyone know?





This next dress has little red hearts all over it… I wonder why it was a “New Year’s Dress” instead of a Valentine’s Day dress?


This was a red jumper that could be worn over it.


The sweet wrapping paper was either vintage or a vintage reproduction… I took pictures of these two dresses from the paper…



Now….who thinks I looked at Betsy McCall dolls on Ebay today? EVERYBODY raise their hand! I did! She’s one sweet little doll…

So who thinks I’ll be making some “Copycat Creations” from these pictures of Betsy’s dresses? EVERYBODY raise their hand again! I will be!!!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne


  1. When you first told us about the Ginny doll wardrobe in an antique store and decided it was too expensive at $35, I went on eBay and won one for $20. I was surprised when I received it to find that it also contained a doll and a treasure trove of clothes and shoes and even roller skates and ice skates. I think it is the same size as a Betsy McCall doll but was less expensive when new. Then I found the bed with the accessories. I brought it along to WV for my granddaughter, Riya. I’d better takes lots of pictures as her six-year-old little friend has already been playing with it and it may not be in perfect condition for long, although the hair is straight already. Thanks for reminding me to lay everything out and take lots of pictures.

    “Thank you” to your wonderful friend who lovingly put together such a wonderful treasure trove for a birthday gift for you and to you for sharing it with all of us.

    • Hi Susette,
      It sounds like you are enjoying your time in WV…I hope so.
      I HAD to share my belated birthday gift with everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Charlotte Trayer says:

    I loved seeing the close-ups of the paper doll clothes, Jean! I was a little older when the 8″ Betsy McCall doll came out, so I didn’t get her. OH how I wanted her, though!!! Many years later, I did get a vintage Betsy in a somewhat rare formal; she’s missing the lower part of one leg but the formal covers it. Then when Robert Tonner did Betsy McCall dolls, I bought a 14″ one, and have enjoyed sewing for her–she has quite a wardrobe! I was so excited when the 8″ ones (by Tonner) came out, and I do have two, but you know, I love that 14″ one best!

    Now, about those clothes….yes, a dress that buttons down the front is called a coat dress. (If it only buttons to the waist or slightly below, it’s a shirtwaist dress.)

    As to the dress with hearts all over it, I suppose it was featured in the January issue of the magazine, and maybe they had something a lot more Valentine-y planned for the February issue! Besides, in the 1950s, heart designs were often found in clothing not remotely connected with Valentine’s Day. For instance, I remember a sundress I had when I was about 6 or 7 that had heart-shaped pockets and maybe a heart-shaped bib (front bodice piece)–and you certainly wouldn’t wear anything like that for Valentine’s Day in Upper Michigan!! It was likely to be -2 and a foot of snow on the ground!! LOL

    I think my favorite is the yellow Easter dress–looks to be yellow organdy over a print fabric–and I also love the lavender one just above it.

    Thanks for sharing! Praying all goes well for you and George when you see his new doctor.

    • Hi Charlotte,
      I knew, you being a 4H judge, you’d know about the coat dtess. Thanks…
      I liked the yellow dress very much too…it looks so dainty and feminine.
      Things did go very well today…so much better than before.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Linda Doyle says:

    I love the paper doll dresses, Jeanne! Yes, a coat dress is one that buttons down the front, like a coat would. That first dress, in gray, reminded me of a gray dress I had, but had pink and white accents. Of course, the skirts are really full for the paper dolls, but mine weren’t quite like that. I love seeing all the different, cheerful fabrics for the dresses, too.

    My new Betsy McCall is a 14 incher, the same size as the Little Darlings, or rather, she wears the same size clothes. That hanky dress I just bought, was actually for a LD. Most of the dresses for Betsy on Ebay, come in a box and contain not only the dress, but accessories too, which puts the price way up there, at least for me! Betsy is a darling, little pixie-faced doll that I prefer to the Hearts dolls, whose heads seem bigger in proportion to their bodies. Oh well, to each their own!
    Good to hear from Susette and hope she makes it back home safe and sound! Sounds like you are having fun!

    Thinking of you and George today. Yes, we will be sort of close, maybe some day it will happen that we can meet! I’m sure you will have plenty on your plate today. Hugs!

    • Hi Linda
      I knew everyone could click on the sheets of paper doll dresses. But I thought close up pictures would be more fun.
      We had a nice visit with this new doctor and it was totally different than with “Dr. Doolittle” as George has been calling him.
      THANKS Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. I hope today’s interview is as good as the last one was not. I want you returning relaxed and hopeful and ready for the next step.

    I remember coat dresses from the 70’s, but didn’t realize they were called that earlier, or that a dress of that shape might be called a coat dress. In fact, I did have a red dress with a fitted top and full skirt and a belt, and it was called a shirtwaist. Somehow the yoke got torn — I can’t imagine how — and — even harder to imagine — my mother and I found the matching fabric and she removed the old one and replaced it. I’d almost forgotten that. I join Charlotte in liking the Easter dress, with the slip fabric used for piping — definitely a Jeanne Marie touch. The shirtwaist and the red jumper are nice too, as well as the plaid skirt and red vest — very Jeanne Marie. Really, these things alone would have been a wonderful gift. Think how much all of us are enjoying them.

    Have the best possible day, with good weather, and maybe dinner out to celebrate a good interview.

    • Hi Marilrn,
      You were right…this doctor visit “definitely” was better than the first one…so much better.
      We felt at ease with our new dr. What a relief!

      I will have to make that sweet yellow dress for Easter!
      Thank you Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. I do have several of my childhood dolls…but, none were ‘famous’ dolls. I recall coveting the Baby Chatty doll terribly, tho. We lived on a farm and didn’t have TV for a LONG time – so, I never even knew about some dolls. G’ma used to give us her McCalls magazines when she was done reading them, and I was allowed to cut out/play with the paper dolls…but, maybe I didn’t realize there was a ‘real’ doll of her? I don’t know. I have a 14″ one, now… but, didn’t as a child. I think my favorite dress of the ones you showed is that last pink one with the black bows… the “Betsy in me” immediately asked for that one!

    • Hi Mary,
      It’s a wonder there are any vintage McCalls paper doll pages left…it seems every little girl in the world surely must have collected those pages and cut out those dresses!
      Thanksso much for your comments on sweet Betsy’s dresses!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. I loved getting to see lots of Betsy McCall doll clothes. They are so neat and what I wished I had when I was a little girl. My mom sewed clothes for me but not so much on the scale of the full skirts Betsy had.
    I have a favorite Betsy McCall paper doll that I remember getting from the June McCall magazine issue from either 62 or 63. (one of those years) and Betsy, Linda and her cousin Sandy were in the story. They were at a beach and Betsy has on a green bathing suit. It’s probably my favorite because it reminded of camping on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Wisconsin side. Anyway, it wasn’t until many years later, that I found that same paper doll sheet and I framed it for my doll room with 2 other doll sheets. I never had a Betsy McCall doll until I bought an 8″ Betsy from Tonner. I also found an old round red suit case with Betsy on the front. I never bought any clothes for her though.
    Thinking of you and George…take care.

    • Hi Paula,
      It’s fun how looking at paper doll dresses can bring back memories for evertone. I’m glad you found the page you remembered long ago and have it in your doll room.
      Thank you for your prayers today. IT was a much better day!
      blessings, Jeanne

  7. These are such soothing photos/remembrances of the past, for today, Jeanne. Thank you.

    Praying for you and George today.


    • Hi Becky,
      Yes, aren’t those dresses just the sweetest things! There isn’t anything as adorable as a little girl in a pretty dress!
      Thank you for your prayers today. Things went much better today!
      blessings, Jeanne

  8. Shara Smith says:

    Love the photos of these vintage dresses:) cant wait to see your repro creations!
    I have a couple of thr 8″ vintage Betsys and one Betsy Tonner, when Robert did her reintroduction:)
    They are little charmers!
    I have a 14″ Betsy as well:)
    I think “coat dress” originally meant a dress thst buttoned up thr front ( like a coat:)

    • Hi Shara,
      I am glad you and everyone else enjoyed the closeup pictures of the dresses
      The details were too cute to overlook!
      Thanks Shara,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Thank you everyone! I’m glad you all enjoyed rhe close ups of rhe dresses. We are on our way.
    Marilyn, I read your first line to George and he just laughed!
    Thanks everyone!
    Group hug!!!!
    Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Always love Betsy McCall. Reminds me of how much I wanted dresses like Betsy when I was a child. Mine were like others have mentioned, not so full or short. Guess my mother was saving on fabric. I had mostly Ginny dolls in the 50’s, but did have a little Betsy McCall. I thought she was adorable. I had two for awhile until an old friend of my fathers, the captain of his ship in WWII, came with his family to visit. They had a son my age who showed interest in my dolls. My mother made me choose one to give away to him. I wasn’t happy about it but had no choice. I still have my little Betsy though.
    Be thinking about you guys over the weekend. I’m sure all will go well.

    • Hi Joy,
      I guess when I make my “copycat creations” I better make my dresses with the fullest skirts possible…just like the paper doll dresses.
      Thank you Joy!
      You brightened my day!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. I am thinking of you and George today. I hope the visit is successful! I like the Betsy McCall dresses in your pictures, especially the pink one with the princess seamed bodice. I googled Betsy McCall to see if I could find some images of the paper dolls and. Clothes I would have played with (mid to last 60’s) and found this link:
    They have scanned pictures for ever year. I had fun looking at all of them.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      How fun to see so many of Betsy’s dresses all in one place. I’ll have to take a look.
      Thank you so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  12. Janet Karst says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    Just for information, the dresses you showed for Betsy McCall paper dolls, you can actually buy patterns from Londonberries Patterns. They have several 14″ dress patterns like the ones shown on those sheets. They even have the ‘Coat Dress’ pattern. I have made several of them with stripe fabric and sold them on Ebay. Hope this will help you when you decided to make any dresses.

    Blessings, Janet

    • Thanks Janet,
      I’m glad you mentioned about the patterns. I’ve seen them before, but since I didn’t have a Betsy McCall doll, never really bothered to look at them much… I will now!
      Thanks for reminding me…
      Blessings, Jeanne

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